Exercise 14 – Illustrating Visual Space

This exercise is a part of the Composition and Viewpoint project and encourages us to play around with different composition and scales of images.

We are asked to find an image of a tree, a building and a child running or walking.  We scale these images up and down so that we have several versions of each.  Here are my cut out images, which curled up at the edges so much that I had to use blue tack to stick them to my square paper:


The course materials suggested adding and experimenting with the position of a horizon line, moving the elements so that they are not always horizontal and vertical to the frame and also not to worry about the images being ‘real’ as it would be in a photograph.

These are some of the compositions I came up with below.  Please click on an image to make it larger, will also allow you to scroll through all the images.

Some of them looked really awkward to me and others are much more visually pleasing.  I had a few problems with deciding where the elements should go on the horizon line in relation to the horizon line and this may be because I drew it first and then moved the elements around it, turning the paper upside down and moving the elements again.  Maybe I should have played with the elements first and then added a horizon line after if I needed it?

Some of the compositions with the diagonal lines looked the most awkward to me and taught me that this dynamic should be researched and practised first in order to be used successfully.

Here are some questions from the course text that were are asked to answer in response to this exercise:

How does your sense of the image and its meaning change when the figure is smaller than the other elements?

A smaller figure could suggest being a significant distance from the viewer and the other elements, which would be bigger because they are closer to the viewer.  However, because the image is of a child, the smaller figure could also just mean that she is naturally smaller in size than the other objects.  A smaller figure, especially in contrast to elements where the largeness is exaggerated, could also just be suggesting the feeling of being very small in a big, vast, scary world.  I guess this would be an example of a visual metaphor of that feeling?

If the elements are at differing angles to each other and at an angle to the frame, what dynamic is suggested?

The differing angles could suggest movement within the image. It could be using the angled elements to direct the eye around the image and point to the most important elements.

If all the elements are completely horizontal and vertical in relation to the frame what dynamic is suggested? What is your opinion about this image and what sensation does it communicate?

The dynamic that is suggested here would be one of order and balance.  This can very effective in portraying a sense of structure and a strong foundation which can calm down any chaos that is happening elsewhere in the picture.  I like the idea of an illustration with the contrast between calm and chaos.

Which is your favourite composition? Explain why you feel it is most successful.


My favourite composition below suggests that there is more of a story to tell.  A number of questions arise when I look at this image and I want to find out more about what’s happening in the picture. Questions like where is the little girl going, why is she so far from home and where are her parents?  The contrast between the little girl and the big tree is what I find most visually interesting and it draws me into the picture.  This is why I feel it is most successful.



Image of wooden house:  https://www.quick-garden.co.uk/blog/maintenance-renovation-wooden-house/

Image of toddler walking: https://www.safekids.org/safe-kids-day-coalition-toolkit

Image of tree: https://pixabay.com/en/tree-spring-nature-time-of-year-740901/




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